Lots of Lib Dem budget amendments. A fair few went through. Including one that I spoke to: a 150k proposal for domestic violence work (perpetrators work etc). I felt proud to be able to promote this particular proposal. I welcomed the recent 3yr strategy, use of MARACs but wanted to see more use of IDVAs. Currently there are 3.4 FTE. Given the size of Bristol this should really be 6.
Emma Bagley’s blog

There goes another £150k … Anyone? Any ideas?

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16 Responses to Eh?

  1. alex woodman says:

    MARACs = Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences

    IDVAs = Individual Domestic Violence Advisers

  2. TonyD says:

    BOLLOCKS = Bunch Of Ludicrously Laughable Overpaid Councillors Keep Spending….my taxes!

  3. steve meek says:

    most councillors are certainly not overpaid, bad apples not withstanding.
    This isn’t bollocks, it’s ANUS – Acronym Not Useful Syndrome.

  4. dave angel says:

    What does an Individual Domestic Violence Adviser do?

    Are they like a boxing coach, giving tactical advice and tips on landing punches between rounds?

  5. Gary Hopkins says:

    Whilst practically every subject is in range for some form of humour I believe that this is one that demands serious treatment.
    At this moment in Bristol there are hundreds of women (and it is mainly but not exclusively women)and children who live in constant fear of the next “episode”.
    It ruins their lives and there is huge evidence of the brutalisation leading to further problems later.
    I personally do not see it as money wasted, and council commitment brings in other cash, if some of the sufferers are equipped to protect themselves and their children and some of the inadequates who do the attacking have their behaviour challenged and changed.

  6. Martyn Whitelock says:

    I would argue it is precisely this kind of investment in people which benefits the tax payer, as opposed the massive amounts wasted on grand schemes such as a mass burn incinerator under a Labour administration. A better society starts within the family and creating harmony between people, surely, not using money to resolve issues which really shouldn’t occur in the first place.

    BB: If we are going to look at this in financial terms (which personally I don’t) then you must also remember the massive amounts of tax payer money currently spent on policing domestic violence.

  7. TonyD says:


    I believe that the humour is directed at the use of acronyms on a councillor’s blog meant for public consumption and written (surely) to help explain decisions made in council, rather than a direct attack on the use of funds to help those in need of protection (which may, or may not, be helped by using MARACs, or by having 6 IDVAs instead of 3.4 – it’s hard to say as Cllr Bagley did not explain what they are or how they might help).

    The problem is that in this area (as in many others), the use of acronyms only serves to isolate the general public (and, often, councillors) from the realities of solving the less palatable effects of daily life in this city. As a result, councillors often appear to be approving spending on yet more acronyms without neccessary solving the underlying problems.

    This may explain why such a large majority of the local electorate feel that registering a vote in council elections is not worth the trip to their local polling booth.

    “Dealing with the misleading jargon is bad enough ,trying to explain it in plain English is a real challenge.”

    Councillors should at least try and if they don’t, they shouldn’t get upset when their use of that same misleading jargon leads to them being ridculed.

  8. Martyn Whitelock says:

    TonyD – You missed “There goes another £150k … Anyone? Any ideas?”

    I think it should be more for a city of this size.

  9. chris hutt says:

    No one would disagree with giving support to the victims of any sort of violence, but we need to ask whether the expenditure achieves this in the most cost effective way.

    The tendency is always for a new bureaucracy to grow up which consumes the resources with relatively little net benefit to those it was originally intended to help.

    Questioning the justification for the expenditure is not the same as questioning the need for “something to be done” about the supposedly targeted problem.

  10. Ella says:

    Gary Hopkins, mate, you gonna do anything about the fact that if a woman is raped in Bristol she only has a 4% chance of gaining a conviction? Lower than the already heartbreaking and revolting figure of 5.7% in the rest of the country.

    Anyone heard the one about those coppers who refused to take a woman’s rape allegation seriously a few months ago? No? The Cancer only gave it a tiny backpage article but were happy to shit all over it’s front pages about a ‘false rape’ claim.

    Oh, and if everyone is so outraged by domestic violence, why don’t you all go and protest against the government’s proposed Welfare Abolition bill that will make it compulsory for the father’s name on a birth certificate- EVEN FOR survivors of violence.

  11. thebristolblogger says:

    Chris seems to be hitting the nail on the head.

    We’re talking about a council here that can’t match primary school places to the number of children in the city properly. How on earth are they going to manage complex and intractable social problems?

    Their track record is hardly impressive is it? The same partnership approach to teenage pregnancy is currently failing for starters. Why should we believe they’ll do any better with domestic violence?

    It seems the more politicians fail at the simple things we want, the more grandstanding we get over social issues that they haven’t a hope of doing anything about because of the useless, sprawling bureaucracy they run that they refuse to reform. (I think you’ll find that the most effective projects tackling domestic abuse have been community managed and run well away from the dead hand of the council).

    The sums of money are derisory too, which adds to the suspicion that this is yet another councillor vanity project. Increasing funding on domestic abuse by £140k a year while paying a Chief Exec £180k a year sends out a big message about priorities doesn’t it?

    Obviously paying someone to spout business school jargon and implement a simplistic “One Council” marketing strategy straight off page one of Marketing for Dummies perfectly demonstrates the priorities doesn’t it?

  12. thebristolblogger says:

    Gary Hopkins, mate, you gonna do anything

    Ella, this is Bristol, politicians don’t do anything about anything. They play about with Mickey Mouse sums of money and make themselves feel good by making the odd right-on announcement and employing another bureaucrat.

  13. TonyD says:

    As has been pointed out, the point is not whether £150,000 is enough funding for the objective (reducing domestic violence and its effects) – it quite clearly is not. It is whether this particular £150,000 is being spent on products and services that will have an effective impact on that objective. If the answer is no than that £150,000 is wasted.

    How do we know if the money is being spent wisely? Isn’t that why we vote councillors in? To ask those questions on our behalf and then explain the answers so that we know that the money is being used in the right way – in this case to prevent domestic violence.

    It is not hard to explain jargon – for example;

    What are MARACs?

    MARACs are essentially meetings where local agencies such as police, probation, local authority, health, housing, refuge, etc get together on a regular basis (fortnightly or monthly) to share information and take action to reduce the threat of future harm to high-risk survivors of domestic abuse and their children.

    The process was first initiated in Cardiff in 2003 and evaluation of the Cardiff Maracs show that 40% of high-risk victims assessed did not become a victim again during the next 12 month period. Given the level of repeat abuse suffered by victims of domestic abuse 40% is a very good improvement although it does still mean that the majority of victims suffer repeat abuse within a year. MARACs are already operating in Bristol.

    What are IDVAs?

    IDVAs are trained individuals whose goal is the safety of domestic violence victims. Their focus is on providing a service to survivors of domestic violence at medium to high risk of future harm and to address their safety needs and help manage the risks that they face. The majority (if not all) of their cases are women victims. IDVAs tend to come in at the point of crisis for a victim i.e. just after a police call out or Accident and Emergency attendance. They act as a single point of contact for the victim and act to co-ordinate the actions of various services represented at a MARAC. They are also cheaper than the police costing about £700 per visit compared to £1,000 per police visit (and as Ella has pointed out, the police are not always the best people to handle domestic violence incidents – there are some 7,000 police call-outs for domestic violence incidents in Bristol every year but it is estimated that some 19,000 incidents go unreported, which may be due to a reluctance to involve the police).


    In Blackpool an average high-risk victim case included the following; 6 police call-outs, 8 GP visits, 6 prescriptions, 4 A+E attendances for minor injuries, 2 A+E attendances for serious injuries, 12 nights in a refuge, Police involvement in a prosecution, Other Criminal Justice Services involvement in a prosecution all leading to a total average cost of £14,000 per case.

    A MARAC was costed at £71,000 per annum and would be able to handle up to 400 cases per annum – equivalent to the costs of 5 high-risk victim cases. In essence, a MARAC is designed to stop the cycle of violence. It is crime prevention

    A MARAC of £71,000 achieving the 40% success rate achieved in Cardiff would save nearly £2.2 million per year. What the dry financial figures fail to adequately convey however, is the incalculable improvement in the lives of the 40% of victims who end up free of physical and mental abuse for at least a year.

    My concern however is that, as Bristol Blogger points out, the best work in the Bristol area is often done by community organizations such as WISH and KWHA in Hartcliffe and Knowle West respectively. They have already established services that Bristol City Council’s own evaluation have described as much more than what the IDVAs provide and are already contributing to MARACs (and have apparently voiced concerns over potential breaches of confidentiality by other agencies involved). The concern is that the limited funding available will be focused on IDVAs at the expense of the established services provided by organizations like WISH and KWHA. Compared to, for example, the Knowle West Domestic Abuse Project (KWDAP), the IDVA service has been described as “short-term, task oriented, works on risk identification, and supports women through the Criminal Justice System” whereas the KWDAP service “works with women at risk of violence who are never likely to come into contact with IDVAs” over a longer-term.

  14. thebristolblogger says:

    MARACs are already operating in Bristol

    So are there any evaluations/assessments/figures available for Bristol rather than Cardiff?

    While the Cardiff example is interesting , you’ve got to remember that multi-agency working doesn’t always work.

    Baby P was a result of multi-agency working too. So the approach is not necessarily what is driving Cardiff’s results.

    I understand a multi-agency approach is also used in Bristol for adult social care. And we currently find the council, the police and CSCI passing the whole Kingsmead Lodge affair around like a hot potato claiming each other are responsible and nothing much happening …

  15. Gary Hopkins says:

    You will find that a significant proportion of this money is in fact going as grants to these very effective community based organisations.
    Because of the loss of NR money a number of groups faced wipeout.

  16. Joe says:

    Where’s that pic on your banner? It looks like my road, but I can’t be sure since I’ve been travelling for a while

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